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Friday, June 20, 2008

The Quiet Rise And Rise Of Amos Kimunya That Kenyans Still Ignore

“Blind-side winger” gunning for the presidency?

I love the game of soccer, but I think I love rugby more.

Amos Muhinga Kimunya the current Finance Minister and a Kibaki insider, was once a student at the Nairobi University and he no doubt used to watch the wildly popular varsity rugby team, Mean Machine in action. One of the most devastating tactics in the game of rugby (which Mean Machine has occasionally employed for years) is the use of a blind side winger. The game generally flows in the opposite direction to where the blind side winger is positioned (well-hidden) somewhere behind the crowded scrum. It is only at the very last split second when the direction is switched and usually a long pass is hurled in the opposite direction and by the time the opposition team get to see the winger coming in at a terribly high speed on the blind side, it is too late for them to do much and he easily scores.

Finance minister Amos Kimunya reminds me of some of the great blind side wingers I had the pleasure of both watching in action and playing with. On the political front this guy nobody had heard of as late as 2002 is coming in on the blind side at a terribly high speed and the crazy thing is that nobody has seen him yet.

This is more than a little surprising because at the height of the political crisis over the disputed presidential elections, early this year, Amos Kimunya's name popped up a little too frequently in intelligence reports circulating amongst Western powers who were critically weighing their dwindling options as the country threatened to degenerate into another Somalia. At the time I must admit that I was fairly puzzled and wondered why there was no mention of stronger and more prominent PNU faces that would be possible successors to Kibaki like George Saitoti or Uhuru Kenyatta. I have since wizened up.

But let us tell this tale chronologically for better clarity.

When the still unresolved Anglo-Leasing scum rocked the Kibaki government in 2006 and forced the then unprecedented move where Finance Minister Daudi Mwiraria resigned, very few people would have guessed that he would be replaced by the little known Lands and Settlement Minister, Amos Kimunya. It is no secret that Mwiraria and the president have always been very close and there are those who still say that the entire “brains” behind Mwiraria’s tenure at the Treasury was the president himself. Hardly surprising when you consider that the President is a world renowned economist and a man whom historians consider to have been the most successful Kenyan finance minister, both under founding father President Jomo Kenyatta and then briefly in President Moi’s government. Indeed it is now emerging that Kibaki had some very firm text book ideas in mind about how he was going to handle the economy as he took over as president and so what he required most in the finance portfolio was a person who could take instructions more than anything else.

This explains why Kimunya ended up in pole position to take over the Finance docket. Between 2002 and 2006 the shrewd Kimunya had wormed his way...

Read more

Tomorrow in Kumekucha: Update on Trent Keegan (foreign Photo journalist killed in Nairobi) murder as investigations take a surprising new twist. Don’t miss it.


Anonymous said...

There have been many declarations of the end of kumekucha recently. Does anybody have any idea why?

I think this comment cud be Chris way of fighting back.

Anonymous said...

opps I meant this excellent piece the kind I have not seen in a long long time cus be poor Chris' way of fighting back

Vikii said...

Chris, does Amos have some solid Finance credentials? Does he have a Commerce (finance) degree, is he a CPA who went all the way to head ICPAK? Is he a professional with a clean background in a political world inhabitted by crooks with countless court cases? Is he a member of Parliament? In short, does he qualify probably better than anyone else to be Finance Minister?

I am asking all the above because you attributed his meteoric rise to pure patronage. I think he has really worked hard to be what he is and he deserves every little bit of it.

About his ambitions for the highest office, Amos Kimunya doesn't have what it takes to win a national election, atleast not yet. Like Tim Oneill said, all politics is local. Within Central Province itself he ranks, in terms of political clout, a distant third after UK and Martha. People like Eastern's Kiraitu are also a notch higher.

Does he have a more realistic chance than Martha, Kiraitu and Saitoti of becoming President in future? Oh yeah. He is trying to adopt a non controversial approach to politics, he is doing a good job as minister and he, unlike the Saitotis of this world, has tried to stay away from crime. Even with all this going for him, building a national profile takes decades and he will have to be patient.

Whoever wins the next elections should be very grateful to William Ruto. Whoever loses it should not look beyond Ruto for answers as to why they lost. All Raila Odinga needs is to retain Ruto as a loyal ally. How easy that is is not for me to say. All what Kalonzo/Uhuru need to do is to encourage William Ruto to run. How easy it is, again is not for me to judge.

Anonymous said...

Yaaaawwwwwn... Yet another conspirasy type theory about kenyan politics. This is the same thing that was said about Mboya, Ouko, Tuju just to name a few. They were all deemed shining stars from afar, maybe behind a large comet of regular types in Kenyan politics.

Reality check my friends. Siasa sio Rugby. The last time a blind side winger succeeded in making a try as it were was in 1978 by one Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi. And that is where that analogy ends. Moi was no maverick. He did his job and took his abuse. So please stop with the sensational theories.

To achieve anything in Kenyan politcs, especially the presidency, depends on psychophancy, luck, loyalty and favoritism and outsmarting your opponents in village and most importantly a godfather or king maker style backing to enable one to control the natives to vote in lock step formation.

If the last election fiasco taught me anything, it is that there are people who are invested heavily in their man at the top and would do almost anything to keep it that way.

Does Kimunya have such connections? I think not. By 2012, he will just another politician who was used to achieve whatever goals the puppet masters intended.

Anonymous said...

chris, as much as am a fun of kumekutua,one point you put across reallydisappoi8nted me ati, kuks are so bitter of an obama presidency that they would rather Holliraly. that was my turning point s far as kumekucha is concerned. that was international tribalism. remember Obama is AN American. He d'aint throw stones anyhowly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

If Kumekucha was a publicly traded company, I would love to sit in on one of it's board meetings.

I mean, if Chris decides to sell kumekucha or do whatever he is doing with it and you don't like it, why not just go somewhere else and stop coming back here day after day wasting your time and energy on the fate of kumekucha.

A lot of people keep saying Chris has let them down. I don't get that. You don't like Kumekucha, simply pack up and go somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

Martha Karua will NEVER, not in my lifetime or yours, and I repeat NEVER EVER be PRESIDENT of KENYA, maybe GOVERNOR of CENTRAL KENYA if the Majimbo aspiration sees the light of day.

Anonymous said...

Really good article, im sure odm is crafting an new strategy, thats if they didnt know about this hehe maybe im insulting their intelligence. Lakini PNU are finally waking up, very crafty of them...

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:14

You are wrong to accuse Chris of peddling international tribalism. I saw it on CNN when they reported that Kikuyus (not all but those polled) wanted Hillary to win while Luos polled wanted Obama to win. I don't have the time line or link but I remember that story well. So I think an apology is owed to Chris and Kumekucha.

Your points make sense but not I think in the Kenyan political sphere. Maybe in the US/Uk charisma and hard work and honesty etc would count for something. I don't buy the notion that a good civil servant gets rewarded in Kenya. And I don't even know if I agree that a powerful ministry like Finance(among others) can be held by someone who will work directly under characters with dubious and sketchy ethics; and yet claim that they steer clear of crime or abuse of office. It just doesn't make sense. If Kimunya for example, has such high ethics and respect of civil service; then he should feel obliged to stand up and protect katiba ya kenya na kuwa mwaminifu kwa katiba ya kenya and all that bullshit that they pledge to while being sworn in.

It is not enough to say that he is an island of ethical standards in a sea of corruption and offenses. If anything, he is an enabler. You can not stand by and watch crimes happening and not act.

Anonymous said...

Point of correction:

Kipipili constituency in in Nyandarwa District in Central Province.

Anonymous said...

Chris thanks for bringing back moderation on this very respectful blog. This blog is being read by Kenya diaspora. I had a conversation with a friend in North Carolina and she said, I get my news from Kumekucha.

Anonymous said...

The GEMA are a very pragmatic people who rarely allow emotions to takeover when making important decisions. It has been decided that the winning ticket will not be headlined by GEMA, but the winner will have to be annoited by their votes. The details of the trade-offs with the one to be backed have not been worked out. Kalonzo has an edge right now, but he has to discard his faith in miracles. His frontrunner status is due to the fact that the GEMA elite have been unable to find a strong Luhya to back.

Uhuru, Martha, Saitoti (or Kimunya) are all dress-rehearsing for the position of the runningmate or PM; and they know it. Kimunya is an urbane man who has literally washed his hands to eat with the Kings. His life story is an admirable example of focussed hard work, intelligence, and supreme networking; but for now that is not enought to bear the presidential standard in an African country where other considerations determine the alignment of ones political stars. Moreover, never predict the outcome of Kenyan politics based on foreign intelligence or preferences.

It is highly unlikely that Kalenjins will go into the election as a single block. Same with Luhya vote.

If I were Raila, I would approach Kiraitu or Karua for a deal, if only to divert some of the water from the mighty GEMA river. For sure, Raila's tsunami floods crested in Dec 2007 without breaching the dam. I will leave you to imagine where his flood levels headed!

Anonymous said...

Anon @12:47

William Ruto said last year that Raila Odinga is unelectable. Can you remember DEcember 27 2007. It came to pass that Raila was unelctrable and to echo your words, Raila Odinga will NEVER EVER BE PRESIDENT of Kenya.

Anonymous said...

Raila for 2012. That is the theme

Anonymous said...

kimunya has just transformed into an elitist thug

no surprises there

Nyakamlago said...

Interesting article but Amos is not your Mr. Clean as you would like us to believe. He stands no chance - his name may be on the ballot just as Karua's will be as she has promised us - but that will not make him commander-in-chief.

Phil said...

Vikii Said:

Quote"He is trying to adopt a non controversial approach to politics, he is doing a good job as minister and he, unlike the Saitotis of this world, has tried to stay away from crime."

Kimunya is (in polite terms) a conman and no presidential material or 'blind winger' as Chris puts it.

I put it to you guys, in Kenya, big business and government contracts go together in oiling the political machinery, and this is where the finance ministry comes in. The biggest criminal in the current cabinet is non other than Amos Kimunya.

Besides his presiding over what is a massive scam aimed at enriching his and president Kibaki's friends though the SafariCON IPO, his other biggest cock-up was to deny that Grand Regency has been sold 'for a song' to private investors while in reality it was given away as repayment of a PNU political debt. I have seen documents that show Kimunya signed away Grand Regency on behalf of Kenya Government in December 2007 and yet he called a press conference to deny it without batting an eyelid. He also facilitated that approval of a blanket amnesty to Kamlesh Pattni by KACC through the Justice minister. These are the facts.

We also have not forgotten that the biggest scandal in independent Kenya is the ANGLO-LEASING. Nearly five years down the road, Kumunya is protecting the identity of individuals behind the shadowy companies the government entered into contract with and even received 'refunds' from.

I can also name other scandals like the irregular, illegal and forced implementation of KRA's Electorinic Tax Registers (ETRs) a few years ago. I say forced because through his ethnic brethren at KRA, Kimunya made it possible for a select group of importers to make a KILL at the expense of tax payers through massive and carefully timed importation of these ETRS. These are deals which will be exposed the day Kibaki's regime is ejected from office. (The ETR deal is similar to the one Minister John Michuki facilitated for his son and personal friends when only a select few were allowed to import container loads of seat belts and speed governors during the implementation of new TLB regulations and all matatus were required by law to fit seat belts and speed governors. Surely Vikii you cant have missed this one. It is called creating overnight multi-billionaires at the expense of wananchi.

Kimunya may appear clean on the outside - but he is the dirtiest and most scandal-laden Finance Minister this country has yet to see.

What I mention here is just a tip of the iceberg. The day we shall open the can of worms that is Transcentury Group Ltd Kenyans will be shocked at how a few individuals have literary bought half of this country within five years that Kibaki and Kimunya have been in power and incharge of the finance ministry. These guys have virtually sold of Kenya to themselves. Even the recent tragedy that was called Safaricom IPO was specifically pushed forward to enrich these fellows just like Moi did with his MOBITELEA. These are not things people can hide forever you know.

So I urge you and Chris to do some more digging into Kimunya's stay at the treasury and then come back here and post what you find out before you start nominating thieves and robbers to be leaders of this country.

Anonymous said...

Ati Kimunya headed (CEO) ICPAK? When? Are we confusing Kimunya and Njiraini?

I know he was the chairman of ICPAK...Who can't be the chairman...Even Karume is a chairman of GEMA..Not that i am disputing his credentials....I just happe to be an ICPAK bona fide member and trust me it is not easy.....To me Kimunya is just another GEMA tribalist....Tosha

Knoppix!® said...

Kimunya is the average sod you can meet sipping Tusker at Taidy's in Nairobi west.Look at his face?

The face shows what Taabu calls deception but i call it disdain!

If its books he might be having enough acres in that way but that guy exhibits little intelligence to warrant an accolade.I have a reasonable measure of doubt as to what prompted this post from chris but that remains just that a doubt.There are guys you can honour albeit Kimunya is not such a bad crook like the rest.

The guy who is my dream for a finance minister is one martin otieno oduor he of the dream team fame.Isnt that guy refined in finance matters,way far beyond even Aden Mohamed!

Anonymous said...

in your support for Karua and her defence of why she was demonised in Sotik yesterday, you forgot to ask yourself this Q. if karua had kept her mouth shut and just eulogised lorna (like kalonzo did), would she have been booed? No! so why was she trying to use the funeral to answer some of the amnesty issues? was it not better to just say - we shall review those matters later? come on now. karua has no political skills beyond gichugu. that much is evident. a politician who is booed off BBC just like she is booed off sotik has no qualities of politics beyond here tribe.

Anonymous said...

Arise Sir Kimunya!

Vikii said...

Interesting stuff. It then appears to me that moral uprightness is not measured by what you do or dont do but by which political party you belong. Which party do we need to join in order to be seen as clean?

Anonymous said...

Come on man... just accept it... you don't even agree with what you wrote. Kipipiri is in Central province... a quick check sometimes helps.

Anonymous said...

I've been watching him too...

Anonymous said...

Kimunya Amos, the proud owner of Grand Regency Nairobi and the staunch supporter of Goldenberg.

He is a friend to Pattni and Kamani.

All birds of the same feathers flock together.

-Kariuki Muthama-

Anonymous said...

Remove moderation. We need to freely express ideas without screening.

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